Will BlackRock Thwart Progress on China Human Rights?

Antony Blinken/PHOTO: US Embassy Moldova (CC)

BlackRock, the world’s biggest money manager, has successfully placed executives from its own ranks in key positions on President Joe Biden’s economic team.

Considering the firm’s clear emphasis on progressive policies in investment decisions – called Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) – it doesn’t surprise that its alumni would be among the economic decision-makers at the White House.

The BlackRock veterans are:

  • Mike Pyle, who will be Vice President Kamala Harris’s chief economic adviser. He was BlackRock’s Global Chief Investment Strategist after a stint in the Obama administration.
  • Brian Deese, who will be director of the National Economic Council. He was previously deputy director and also a senior advisor to Obama. For BlackRock, he was global head of sustainable investing.
  • Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, who will be deputy secretary of the Treasury Department, if he is confirmed by the Senate. He was Obama’s senior
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REPORT: Apple Lobbying to Water Down Bill That Would Protect Uyghurs

Tim Cook in China

Last month National Legal and Policy Center reported, based on disclosure reports discovered by tech news Web site The Information, that Apple Inc. had hired a Washington lobbying firm to aid its efforts to modify the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

It wasn’t known at the time what influence Apple hoped to exert on the shaping of the bill, but considering the company’s extensive use of Chinese labor to assemble its products and their parts, the suspicion was that it hoped to ease any restrictions and penalties.

Now, two anonymous Congressional sources cited by the Washington Post say that Apple does want the legislation watered down. 

The Act seeks to force companies to ensure that they or their suppliers do not use coerced labor from the persecuted Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of China. The people group has reportedly been subjected to persecution, … Read More ➡

Billboard Critical of LeBron James Hypocrisy on China is Censored

From the New York Post by Isabel Vincent:

Shot blocked.

A government watchdog recently tried to post a bold message on giant billboards during he NBA finals about LeBron James’ refusal to speak out against Chinese human-rights abuses, but was rejected by the sign company.

The Virginia-based National Legal and Policy Center was poised to spend “several hundred thousand dollars” on five billboard images showing the superstar with a Chinese flag covering his mouth and the message, “Silence is Violence.”

The billboards were set to be displayed near the entrance to the NBA Bubble near Orlando, Fla., where James’ LA Lakers are battling the Miami Heat for the NBA championship.

But Outfront Media refused to put up the ads for fear of upsetting the famously outspoken James, according to an email from the company viewed by The Post.

Click here to read the rest in the New York Post.… Read More ➡

Wall Street Journal Letter: Poor Larry Fink

The Wall Street Journal today published this letter from NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty:

Pity the situation of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who finds himself being mau-maued by green activists at his annual stockholder meeting for not doing enough to disinvest from fossil-fuel companies.

One way he can expiate his sins is to disinvest in the 153 China-owned or controlled companies as our organization recently called on him to do. Besides covering up the pandemic spread in Wuhan, Communist China is a major human-rights abuser, “re-educating” Muslim Uighurs in prison camps, conducting digital surveillance of its citizens and cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Apparently, neither Mr. Fink’s idea of moral and socially responsible investing nor that of his so-called “progressive” critics takes into account these human-rights issues. The sixth circle of Dante’s hell punishes hypocrisy.

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Apple Shareholder Files Proposal on Free Speech

National Legal and Policy Center has submitted a shareholder proposal asking Apple Inc. to made a report on human rights, and specifically, free speech. The 2019 Apple annual meeting will take place in Cupertino, California in early 2019. Here is the text of the proposal and supporting statement:

Whereas, the Securities and Exchange Commission has consistently recognized that human rights constitute a significant policy issue.

Freedom of speech and association are fundamental human rights.

The Company operates in nations with systematic human rights abuses. The Company has abetted certain governments and non-governmental organizations in suppressing freedom of speech and association.

For example, our CEO in March 2018 co-chaired the so-called China Development Forum, sponsored by the Communist Chinese government. In December 2017, our CEO keynoted the World Internet Conference, another Chinese government event.

In February 2018, the Company transferred operation of its iCloud data center in mainland China to … Read More ➡